A WRITER'S WIT
My Book World
For the last several years, I have watched Showtime’s series by the same name, perhaps the only reason I've come to know this book at all. In 1999, I read James H. Jones’s Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life, and, in 2004 T. C. Boyle’s novel, The Inner Circle, in which Boyle delves further into Kinsey’s organization. Maier’s book seems to pick up where Kinsey’s story of investigating Americans’ sex lives leaves off (he dies in 1956). Whereas Kinsey uses an interview method with obvious limits and weaknesses, Masters and Johnson pioneer primarily an area of laboratory research investigating how the female in American culture achieves sexual satisfaction.
Maier’s research seems thorough, exploring the early lives of both William Masters and Virginia Johnson. As with all human beings, no matter how lofty their research aims later become, Masters and Johnson both have their strong and weak points as both scientists and human beings. Masters, after helping thousands of people in the St. Louis area achieve successful fertility, actually conceals from his first wife, Libby, that it is he who is the sterile partner. Because of her own initiative, Libby becomes informed of the situation and is artificially inseminated with Masters’s own semen (for some reason frozen). Moreover, Masters is a cold man emotionally, more than likely due to having been physically abused by his father; he is virtually estranged from both of his children though they all live in the same house. Virginia, a free spirit since birth, owns her sex life from an early age, experiencing a full sex life with various men, including her business partner, William Masters. Their relationship in the TV series is deemed more romantic than actually seems to happen. Like everything else in their lives, marrying becomes the easier choice: to work and live together. Legally bland.
One of the amazing elements of their research is that they are able to keep it under wraps from the local and national media:
“For nearly a decade, their secret remained safe. Rumors of a lab study devoted to sex, operating in the heart of St. Louis, never appeared on television or radio or in print. As a personal favor to Masters, St. Louis Globe-Democrat publisher Richard Amberg vowed his daily newspaper wouldn’t breathe a word to its readers. The city’s other competing paper, owned by Pulitzer, stayed mum. Reporters for the Associated Press and United Press International, the two wire services beaming scoops across the world, also knew of this sensational human experiment but refused to say anything to the American public” (150). Wow.
Date of Original Post:
11/13/14 — Introduction to My Long-Playing Records
11/20/14 — "My Long-Playing Records" — The Story
11/27/14 — "A Certain Kind of Mischief"
12/04/14 — "Ghost Riders"
12/11/14 — "The Best Mud"
12/18/14 — "Handy to Some"
12/25/14 — "Blight"
01/01/15 — "A Gambler's Debt"
01/09/15 — "Tales of the Millerettes"
01/15/15 — "Men at Sea"
01/22/15 — "Basketball Is Not a Drug"
01/29/15 — "Engineer"
02/05/15 — "Snarked"
02/12/15 — "Killing Lorenzo"
02/19/15 — "The Age I Am Now"
02/26/15 — "Bathed in Pink"
Listen to My Long-Playing Records Podcasts:
03/12/15 — "A Certain Kind of Mischief"
03/26/15 — "The Best Mud"
04/02/15 — "Handy to Some"
04/09/15 — "Tales of the Millerettes"
04/16/15 — "Men at Sea"
04/23/15 — "My Long-Playing Records"
04/30/15 — "Basketball Is Not a Drug"
05/07/15 — "Snarked"
05/21/15 — "Killing Lorenzo"
05/28/15 — "Bathed in Pink"
Also available on iTunes. Watch for more podcasts!